Bojan Krkić 22 Striker Roma (AC Milan)
It seems strange now to think that Bojan played over 100 league matches for Barcelona. He burst onto the scene fully five years ago and looked to be a key part of the future Barcelona side that never happened. Instead, Pep Guardiola assembled his troops around Lionel Messi and the rest is history; Bojan's potential as a local Catalonia hero remains unfulfilled and the 22-year-old is beginning to find it difficult to find somewhere to belong.
At his best Bojan is a menace, an energetic nuisance with frightening ability. He buzzes around the front line dropping little nuggets of damage all over the opposition defence with his tricky footwork and his pace. During his early days at Barcelona it was easy to see why Bojan was regarded by many pundits as the finest product of La Masia for years, possibly the best since Messi. He's quick but not lighting quick, superb in tight spaces despite the occasional clumsy touch.
Tim Vickery speaks frequently about players with a low centre of gravity, and few sum up their attributes better than an in-form Bojan. He's an effective dribbler, capable of unlocking stubborn defences simply by deploying his wonderful close control of the ball and a little ingenuity. He's got a tidy finish in his armoury and has scored some quite brilliant goals. He's an accomplished one-on-one player too, a confident competitor when going head to head with a goalkeeper. He's been the same since he was 17.
And yet one can't help but feel it's not quite happening for Bojan. For one thing, it's clear he didn't want to leave Barcelona, where Frank Rijkaard showed plenty of faith in him but Guardiola's building of one of the greatest teams of all time unfortunately meant the young forward became surplus to requirements. He's keen to return - Bojan is the outcast prodigy, a player with an unrequited but unending love for his club.
In July 2011 he joined a Barcelona icon, Luis Enrique, in the Italian capital when he became Roma boss and played his part in the good side of a stuttering season with 13 starts, 13 goals and 20 appearances as a substitute. Despite his contribution under the Spaniard and his continuing promise, new Roma coach Zdeněk Zeman remained unimpressed and Bojan found himself on the move again in the last transfer window, this time to the rather puzzling destination of Milan, and Massimiliano Allegri's Rossoneri.
The young Catalan international is by no means an established starter so far at San Siro. Milan have undergone a remarkable transformation in the past six months, selling off the crown jewels and moving on the old guard seemingly all in one go, but they still have competition for places right in Bojan's wheelhouse. Stephan El Shaarawy is fast becoming the main man up front for Milan along with Giampaolo Pazzini, while Robinho still has much to offer and Alexandre Pato continues to try to make the best of his exceptional quality.
Bojan has just one senior Spain cap, a reflection both on La Furia Roja's strength in depth and the player's own backwards steps. In 2006, aged 15, he burst onto the Under-17 scene and was the joint highest scorer at the European Championships. He's played regularly for Spain's Under-17s and Under-21s, but the step up to the first team looks bigger than ever.
For all the movement and uncertainty, Bojan's potential remains intact but the likelihood is he will have to find happiness in a new home. Barcelona have the option to buy him back next summer but truly great players don't need to be in one particular place to find their best. He made his Rossoneri debut in September and scored his first goal for the club in a thumping win over Chievo in November, but his best days were undoubtedly those vibrant early performances for Barca.
There, he wrote himself into the record books for fun. In 2007, he made his first team debut and became the youngest player to represent the club in the Champions League and the Spanish top flight. He became the youngest league goalscorer for Barcelona, and the second youngest player from any team to score in the Champions League.
Unfortunately things have gone a little quiet since his explosive introduction. Of this year's 100 players, Bojan is arguably one of the most talented - but he has an enormous amount of work to do to become the player we all thought he'd be back in 2008.
"Looks lost outside Barcelona and if Zdenek Zeman has no use for such a pacy attacking player then just who can bring the best from him? Seems to have no natural role in the preferred formation at Milan in one of the summer's least understandable transfers." - Adam Digby (ESPN, Sports Illustrated)
D Unable to settle, but don't write him off
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